Posted inArts & Culture

theater minireview

In the Morning of the Year 2000, Il Penseroso Productions, at Bailiwick Arts Center. In her first play Laura Matias has penned a subtle, moving drama: on the evening before the new millenium, a middle-aged daughter and her father come to terms with the past. The daughter is an English professor who came of age […]

Posted inMusic

Critic’s Choice/ music

FINNISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA Though it’s only six years old, the Finnish Chamber Orchestra is already its country’s flagship ensemble. The performances of a pair of late Haydn symphonies (numbers 92 and 99) on its debut CD (Ondine), under the baton of veteran maestro Paavo Berglund, are precise and vigorous, showing the skilled, tight-knit 38-member orchestra […]

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Automatic for the People

Pulsars Double Door, October 4 By Ben Kim The Pulsars, Chicago’s preeminent new-wave revival band, are as much about cars as stars–that is, “Cars,” the hit new-wave song by Gary Numan, and the Cars, the hit new-wave band from Boston. Numan was a British synthesizer pop star playing android. The Cars were an American rock […]

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Golden Boy

GOLDEN BOY, Steppenwolf Theatre Company. David Cromer inspires a gangbusters cast to knock the stuffing out of Clifford Odets’s 1937 protest play, a cautionary tale about the power of materialism to kill the soul. Young, hungry Italian-American dreamer Joe Bonaparte abandons a career as a violinist for easy money as a prizefighter–and ends up sacrificing […]

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Gentlemen Prefer Bonds

GENTLEMEN PREFER BONDS, or girls just wanna have funds, at the Apollo Theater Center. Aaron Freeman is a noisy guy: brash, excitable, eager to show you how witty and informed he is. But team him up with somebody like John Dempsey (one of his sidekicks on his radio show, Metropolis) or Rob Kolson (his partner […]

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Hamlet

HAMLET, Powertap Productions and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble at Zebra Crossing Theatre, and HAMLET, Shakespeare Repertory. Innumerable obstacles confront any director tackling Hamlet, not least among them a title character who begins by declaring his wish to commit suicide and can’t manage to do much of anything else for the ensuing five acts. But perhaps the […]

Posted inFilm

Shotcuts to Happiness

Secrets and Lies Rating *** A must see Directed and written by Mike Leigh With Brenda Blethyn, Timothy Spall, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Phyllis Logan, Elisabeth Berrington, Lee Ross, Claire Rushbrook, Ron Cook, Michele Austin, and Lesley Manville. By Jonathan Rosenbaum I’ve seen Secrets and Lies three times since it premiered at Cannes in May, and each […]

Posted inMusic

Critic’s Choice/ music

KELLER QUARTET Since winning a spate of prestigious European prizes in 1990, the Budapest-based Keller Quartet has been riding a well-warranted buzz. Its recordings of string quartets by Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and Ravel (all on Erato) reveal a mature ensemble sharp and taut in its playing and resolutely unsentimental and intellectual in its interpretation–unusual qualities for […]

Posted inFilm

I Am a Sex Addict

Through a series of intertwined frank confessions from a cross section of eight American and English subjects, this feature documentary made for the BBC by Vikram Jayanti and John Powers explores the phenomenon of the pleasure principle running amok. With a mixture of narcissism, cynicism, and sadness, each of these self-proclaimed sex addicts recounts past […]

Posted inMusic

Critic’s Choice/ music

KENT KESSLER/GENE COLEMAN Some of Chicago’s finest improvisers, like bassist Kent Kessler and bass clarinetist Gene Coleman, rarely get the opportunity to step out on their own and play solo. In fact it’s unusual to hear unaccompanied music these days–players and venues seem more interested in exploring ensemble interplay than the univocal statement. But solo […]